Lauren Cecilia Fisher (née Gofton) (born 28 April 1978), known professionally as Lauren Laverne, is an English radio DJ, television presenter, author, singer and comedienne. She presents a radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music, and has presented television programmes including 10 O'Clock Live for Channel 4, and The Culture Show and coverage of the Glastonbury Festival for the BBC. Laverne has written a published novel entitled Candypop: Candy and the Broken Biscuits.
In her previous career as a musician, Laverne was best known for being lead singer and sometime guitarist in pop band Kenickie, although her greatest chart success came when she performed vocals on Mint Royale's single "Don't Falter".
Laverne was born and brought up in Sunderland in a large family. One grandfather had been a shipbuilder, another a coalminer. Her father was an academic and her mother was a teacher. She first attended St. Mary's R.C. Primary School in 1982, where she befriended Marie Nixon, later to become a fellow Kenickie guitarist, and then St. Anthony's Girls' School between 1989 and 1994, where she and Nixon met Emma Jackson. Laverne went on to study at City of Sunderland College from 1994 to 1996.
During her time at college, Laverne, Nixon and Jackson formed a teen punk band called Kenickie with Laverne's brother Peter, taking the stage names Lauren Laverne, Marie du Santiago, Emmy-Kate Montrose and Johnny X. As their popularity grew, Laverne had to alternate between studying for A-levels and touring with the band. Despite this strain, Laverne won a place at nearby Durham University to study Medieval History, but her entry was deferred in order to concentrate on the band in 1996-97. The band's rise to prominence in 1997 coincided with moving from Sunderland to London, as the thrice-weekly commute was proving too costly and tiring, which meant she never took up the place.
In all, Kenickie achieved four top 40 hits and a top ten album.
Laverne became as famous for her funny and acerbic interview style as for her music, making her a popular contestant on comedy panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Have I Got News for You, memorably referring to contemporaneous girl group the Spice Girls as "Tory scum".
In 2000, she brought out a solo EP, Take These Flowers Away, contributed a version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" to Xfm London's It's a Cool, Cool Christmas album, played at the Reading Festival and made the top 20 for the only time in her singing career as vocalist on "Don't Falter" by Mint Royale. She was also working on a solo album at this time, but this was permanently put on hold by the collapse of Deceptive Records.
She subsequently provided guest vocals on the Divine Comedy's 2004 single "Come Home Billy Bird".
Laverne's first television presenting job was Play UK's series The Alphabet Show, with Chris Addison, made while Kenickie were still together. She has since presented Planet Pop and Loves Like A Dog for Channel 4, Fanorama for E4, Party in the Park with Melanie Brown and Pop for Five and Orange Playlist for ITV, as well as reporting for RI:SE, leading the house band on Johnny Vaughan Tonight and appearing as an expert in a music special of BBC One's Test the Nation. In recent years she has been seen as one of BBC2's main presenters for their coverage of the Glastonbury Festival and the host of ITV2's coverage of events such as the British Comedy Awards and the BRIT Awards.
She also presented a documentary for Sky One on the rise of popularity of the US hit TV Show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Buffy: Television With Bite. This was done when the show was returning for its sixth season in 2001.
In 2004 she was a regular guest on the quiz show HeadJam. She could also be seen (uncredited) briefly in the film Shaun of the Dead, where she was "zombie outside flat" (more obvious in the bonus content).
In 2005, she became host of ITV's Saturday morning music show CD:UK, along with Myleene Klass and Johny Pitts, starting on 17 September with a programme featuring Laverne interviewing Sir Paul McCartney. The show finished in April 2006.
in April 2006, she appeared as guest host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. In August, Laverne presented Channel 4's coverage of the V Festival. In March 2007, she presented the NME Awards live from the Hammersmith Palais.
In July 2007, Laverne appeared on the satirical comedy show Mock the Week, and on Have I Got News for You on 14 December of the same year. She appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks on 10 January 2008, this time as a guest. In September 2008, Laverne appeared again on Mock the Week.
In March 2008, Laverne appeared on the Lily Allen and Friends show with fellow Sunderland musicians the Futureheads, and on Would I Lie to You?.
From 2006 to 2010, she was a regular presenter with the weekly BBC arts magazine programme The Culture Show, alongside Mark Kermode. She also presented the second series of the late-night Channel 4 music show Transmission with T-Mobile opposite Steve Jones.
Laverne replaced radio DJ Jo Whiley on the talent show Orange Mobile Act Unsigned, which searches for the top unsigned acts in the country.
Laverne became a regular presenter in the new 'magazine' format third series of It's Not Easy Being Green, first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2009. She also narrated Tough Guy or Chicken? on BBC Three in August 2009.
On 6 May 2010, she was a co-host of Channel 4's Alternative Election Night, along with Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker. Starting 20 January 2011, she re-joined her co-hosts on Channel 4's satirical news programme 10 O'Clock Live. Her position on 10 O'Clock Live has been controversial, with literary and television critic Ed Cumming of The Telegraph asking "What is the point of her? It was like watching your dumbo big sister die at a talent show."
Having previously sat in for BBC Radio 1's Steve Lamacq, Laverne joined Xfm London in 2002, co-hosting a Saturday morning show with Mark Webster, while occasionally standing in for various DJs on BBC Radio 6 Music, including Phill Jupitus' breakfast show where one morning she interviewed her own brother Pete (who records under the name J Xaverre) Laverne took over XFM's drivetime slot from Zoë Ball at the start of 2004, winning Best Newcomer at the Commercial Radio Awards in 2004. She became host of the XFM breakfast show on 31 October 2005 after Christian O'Connell moved to Virgin Radio, but left suddenly in April 2007 to pursue her television interests. However, Laverne has recently guest presented on BBC Radio 2. On 9 February 2008, she stood in for Russell Brand on Radio 2, whilst he was taking a break.
She presents her own Monday-Friday 6 Music show, 10am-1pm. Laverne was widely quoted by mass media in early March 2010 when her emotional reaction to proposals to close 6 Music captured the attention of her listeners and the press. Following the BBC Director General's announcement that the station would be recommended for closure as part of cost-cutting plans, she started her show saying "This is probably not the easiest of day for us, probably not the easiest day to be on the radio, to be honest with you, especially not this station, which I love with all my heart. So thank you very much for all your kind words." In May 2012 fellow 6 Music DJ Huey Morgan accused Laverne of not programming her own radio shows. On Twitter he tweeted "She just shows up and plays on Twitter."
She has been a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Just a Minute.
In 2010, she published her first novel Candypop - Candy and the Broken Biscuits, about rock chick Candy Caine, 15, on her journey to the world's biggest music festival, Glastonbury. The book is published by HarperCollins.
Laverne dated music journalist Taylor Parkes while in the band Kenickie and later Malcolm Middleton, from the band Arab Strap. She married television producer and DJ Graeme Fisher in County Durham in August 2005, and the couple live in Muswell Hill, London. Laverne also retains a flat in Sunderland. The couple had their first child, a boy named Fergus James, in October 2007. On 30 March 2010, Laverne revealed on her BBC Radio 6 Music show that she was pregnant with their second child. Lauren gave birth to the couple's second son, Mack, on 20 September 2010. She is a vegetarian.
In 2005, Laverne's passion for her home city resulted in her becoming an ambassador promoting and raising awareness of Sunderland. She is a supporter of Sunderland AFC of the Barclays Premier League. She received an honorary fellowship from the University of Sunderland in July 2009.
Laverne is a supporter of the Labour Party, she called the Spice Girls "Tory scum" for their support for the Conservatives in the 1997 general election. Laverne's mother, Celia Gofton, was elected a councillor for the Pallion ward in the City of Sunderland in 2006, and sought nomination as Labour candidate in 2008 in the Sunderland Central constituency but was defeated by Julie Elliott, who went on to win the seat for Labour in the 2010 general election.
Laverne identifies herself as Roman Catholic, although she compares them to the Mafia and remains "incredibly angry" at them.